JUDGE ROBERT E. BECKHAM is a pioneer lawyer of Fort Worth, and is still one of the foremost legal minds of the city and of North Texas. His career has covered broad and useful fields of activity, and he is one of the most esteemed citizens of Fort Worth, whether as a private citizen of a lawyer. He is an ex-Confederate veteran, with full four years of loyal service to his credit. After he came to Fort Worth in the youthful days of that city, over thirty years ago, he was soon chosen out of the ranks for public service, and for many years he was the incumbent of some position of honor and responsibility in the city and county.
Judge Beckham is a Kentuckian by birth. It is worthy of notice how many natives of Kentucky and Tennessee figure on these pages. In this seems to be exemplified the truth of the observation that migration always follows the parallels of latitude, and the settler as a rule goes very little north or south of his original home. Judge Beckham was born at Murray, Kentucky, in 1844, being a son of P. H. and Sarah F. (Churchill) Beckham. He was reared and received his education in the town of his birth, and had already begun the study of law when the war broke out. In April, 1861, he enlisted in the Confederate army, becoming a private of Company F, C. C. Bowman’s First Kentucky Infantry. He served in that company and regiment until it was discharged in June, 1862. Early in 1863 he re-enlisted and was enrolled in General Forrest’s famous cavalry, and served throughout the remainder of the war under that great general. His service took him into Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama, being engaged in almost constant warfare, participating, among other battles, at Johnsonville, Franklin and Nashville, Tennessee. He saw the last campaigning at Selma, Alabama, and left the army in April, 1865.
After the war he resumed the study of law, and in 1866 was admitted to practice at his home town of Murray, where he hung out his first shingle and continued legal work until 1872. In the latter year he enrolled himself with the pioneers of Fort Worth, where he opened a law office and became identified with the progress and best interests of the town which was to be his permanent place of residence, and which he has seen grow to the proportions of a large and flourishing city. In 1878 he was elected mayor of Fort Worth and served two years. In 1880 he was elected county judge, holding that office two terms. In 1884 he was chosen district judge, and for two terms, or eight years, he held his seat on the district judgeship he was a member of the law firm of Terrell, Beckham & Carter. When he retired form the bench in 1892 he resumed private practice, and has enjoyed an extensive and profitable practice ever since. He is very successful as a lawyer, both in court and as a counsel, and is one of the most universally esteemed citizens of Fort Worth.
Judge Beckham has two sons. The older, Robert H. Beckham, is connected with the Fort Worth National Bank. He enlisted for the Spanish-American war and served on the staff of one of the commanding offices in the Fort Worth National Bank. He enlisted for the Spanish-American war and served on the staff of one of the commanding officers. The other son, Clifford G. Beckham, is a lawyer and practices with his father. They have their offices in the Fort Worth National Bank building. These two successful and enterprising young men are the sons of Judge Beckham’s first wife, Mary Godwin, to whom he was married in 1871, and who died in 1889. He was married the second time to Sadie M. Tevis. The Judge and his wife are both esteemed members of the First Christian church of Fort Worth.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, p. 196.